Man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of officers
A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of two police officers in south Belfast.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the 22-year-old launched “an unprovoked knife attack on both officers” in the early hours of Wednesday morning (February 1).
Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton said: “Two of our officers attended an address in the Ormeau Road area providing assistance to a vulnerable member of the public. This man then launched an unprovoked knife attack on both officers.
“One officer sustained a cut to his face from a blade, while a second officer sustained a serious stab wound to his neck. He has been taken to hospital for treatment for his injuries.
“The man, aged 22, was arrested for attempted murder and remains in police custody at this time.”
Mr Singleton added: “It’s sobering to think just how lucky we are not to have lost these officers. We’re supporting them, their families and colleagues ensuring they receive the appropriate care and welfare support.
“This incident serves as a timely reminder of the very real threat of serious violence our police officers face each and every day.
“All this is happening while they are seeking to protect the public and working incredibly hard to keep our communities safe.
“Officers regularly step forward into the unknown placing the public’s safety ahead of their own. That’s not something that any of us should take for granted.
“Assaults on our officers are never acceptable, and should be condemned.”
The chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, says the officer who was stabbed in the neck is fortunate to be alive.
Mr Kelly said: “This was a terrible incident that could have had a very different outcome.
“Both officers displayed remarkable professionalism when confronted by this knife-wielding individual who was clearly intent on causing great harm.
“In this case, the officers could have used their firearms to protect themselves, but they didn’t. They sustained injuries with one colleague requiring urgent hospital treatment for his neck wound. A millimetre either side of the wound could have had a very different outcome.”
He added: “The availability of Taser would have provided these frontline officers with an effective tactical option against their attacker and potentially avoided the inflicting of the injuries on them.
“We say again that Tasers are effective, protective devices and should be issued as standard to our officers. They are infinitely preferable to a firearm and anyone who thinks otherwise should look at this incident and ask the obvious question.
“My thoughts are with my two colleagues, and I hope both are able to return to duty as quickly as possible. They are to be commended for the care they showed this violent attacker in the first instance and their subsequent handling of a very dangerous situation.
“All assaults and attacks on our officers are never acceptable and must be condemned.”